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Britain Takes in Over 400,000 Workers from Eastern Europe Since 2004


The British government reports that more than 400,000 workers from Eastern Europe have come to work in Britain since 10 new members joined the European Union in 2004.

Figures published by the British Home Office Tuesday show the government admitted 427,000 workers from the 80 formerly communist-ruled new EU member nations. If self-employed workers are included, that figure may be as high as 600,000.

Poles make up the majority of the registered immigrant workers in Britain, followed by Lithuanians and Slovaks. Poland has the bloc's highest unemployment rate.

The immigration figures have triggered debate in Britain over foreign labor. Some politicians have called for additional restrictions on immigration ahead of the EU decision whether to admit Bulgaria and Romania in 2007.

The countries that gained EU membership in 2004 are Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.